Professor Julia Buckroyd

Different presentations of disordered eating seem to have more in common than what differentiates them. That has led me to think of them collectively as an addictive/compulsive defence or coping mechanism against feelings, memories, thoughts, realisations etc. Current understanding of brain chemistry attests to their power in changing mood while rumination on food/weight/shape/size can fill many hours to the point of destroying ordinary functioning. The implication is that the eating behaviour is a symptom, not a cause and that in order for it to be surrendered its purposes will have to be met by other means. Secure attachment enables difficulties to be transacted by self soothing and with help from others.Those with eating disorders seem very often to have attachment deficits which leave them struggling to cope with their lives. The problem for the therapist is that their solution is cheap and legal and very readily available – a formidable competitor to therapy. As a group these are people with poor emotional language or awareness, often distant from the experience of their own bodies – classic psychoanalytic (or person centred) strategies of the minimally active therapist are unlikely to provide the ‘alternative emotional experience’ that these clients so desperately need. This seminar will therefore present a model of therapy which is more active and more psychoeducational than conventionally practised in order to facilitate internalisation of the therapist’s soothing and supportive voice.

About the Speaker

Julia Buckroyd is Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of Hertfordshire. From 2002 -2008 she was Professor of Counselling and from 2004-2008, Director of the Obesity and Eating Disorders Research Unit. She has been working in the field of eating disorders since 1984. Her original training was as an academic historian but she re-trained first as a counsellor at Birkbeck College, University of London and then as a psychotherapist with the Guild of Psychotherapists